European Amazon workers strike on Cyber Weekend

UK and European Amazon fulfilment centre workers are set to stage walkouts over Black Friday and Cyber Weekend.

UK trade union the GMB is coordinating the walkout here, where hundreds of staff are planning to stage demonstrations outside five fulfilment centres today (Friday 23rd November). In Spain there is to be a 24 hour strike, while at Bad Hersfeld and Rheinberg in Germany there is to be strike action.

Around 100 on-shift and off-shift Amazon staff are set to join a demonstration outside Rugeley near Birmingham before marching to the Lea Hall Minder’s Club where the shadow work and pensions minister, Jack Dromey, is set to speak.

The GMB spokesman said protesters were looking to raise awareness rather than disrupt Black Friday sales. “All we want is to get Amazon around the table,” he said.

GMB’s general secretary, Tim Roache, said in a statement that working conditions at Amazon were “frankly inhuman.” He added: “They are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious, and being taken away in ambulances.”

Amazon Germany workers at Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia have vowed to walk off the job today, hoping to disrupt one of the busiest days of the year for the company.

The German Verdi trade union is calling for a strike that began on the night shift last night and to continue the walkout until the end of Black Friday.

Union Secretary Mechthild Middeke said the “end of the year rush is the most stressful time for employees,” demanding long hours of overtime. “Employees are particularly important on a day like Black Friday. The commitment of the employees must be better rewarded by a higher salary and by a collectively agreed Christmas bonus,” she said.

In response to the threatened UK action, Amazon said in s statement. ”All of our sites are safe places to work and reports to the contrary are simply wrong. According to the UK Government’s Health and Safety Executive, Amazon has over 40% fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing companies in the UK. We encourage everyone to compare our pay, benefits, and working conditions to others and come see for yourself on one of the public tours we offer every day at our centers across the UK.”